Trying to find Canberra's best autumn leaves is a bit like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans. You know they exist because all of your friends are gushing about them but they remain stubbornly hidden, just out of reach. But fear not, here are some tips to help you find the most Insta-worthy autumn leaf locations in and around Canberra.
The best times to start leaf hunting are mid-April to mid-May. Each type of tree and each suburb see in the change to autumn at slightly different times but this just adds to the challenge and extends the fun. The changes also vary year to year but as a guide, the peak of colour is early to mid-May.
The older 'inner north' and 'inner south' are the perfect places if you want to see boulevards lined with mature trees, many of the forming brilliant canopies across the roads. Yarralumla and Deakin in the south and O'Connor, Lyneham and Ainslie in the north have plenty to offer. This map suggests some popular leafy streets to check out.
If you prefer parks to streetscapes, the area from Queen Elizabeth Terrace to Nara Peace Park is an easy walk or bike ride with plenty of autumn magic. Queen Elizabeth Terrace with its Manchurian Pears and claret ash is a great place to start. Follow the path around the lake past a beautiful stand of oaks. There are often toadstools, mushrooms and fog lurking here too so you can get creative framing some shots if you have your camera handy. If you continue under the bridge, there's a great view of the National Museum and some beautiful old poplars lining the lake foreshore. The path leads to the Nara Peace park with some brilliant red maples to round out the walk. Lennox Gardens and the grounds of the nearby Hyatt Hotel are also worth checking out.
If you want to venture further afield, the wineries around Lake George put on a pretty awesome autumn show with the vineyards and gentle hills providing the perfect backdrop for a glass of local wine. There are some nice old trees just to the north of the wineries which light up over autumn and feel a world away from the city.
So there you have it - peak autumn in Canberra. Pretty as a picture and not yet achingly cold - just zesty enough to add a rose to your cheeks and make you feel alive when you step outside.